It’s no secret that we all get sad and depressed after the Super Bowl because we all know that there’s no football from February to August, but with the NFL draft making a strong appearance here in Cleveland you can literally feel the excitement for the Cleveland Browns to improve on their 2020 playoff run. So, without further ado, here is the 2021-22 Cleveland Browns schedule with a special twist!
AFC West Games:
The Browns will start off the season with a Week One rematch from the 2020 playoff divisional round with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Browns will look to avenge their 22-17 loss in the divisional round last season. This only came on a targeting call that should have been made and cost the Browns a potential go-ahead touchdown that could have won the game and changed the atmosphere of the playoffs completely. This will be a “matinee” game at 4:25, so expect all eyes to be on this game to see how the Browns and head coach Kevin Stefanski have improved in year two under his regime. The L.A. Chargers come to town in Week Five and I don’t expect much from them as the Browns have vastly improved the defense and there’s still too much firepower on offense. The Browns will also see the hated Denver Broncos in Week Seven. This rivalry goes back to “The Drive” and John Elway knocking the Browns out of the playoffs and crushing the dreams of a Super Bowl championship. On paper, the Browns are clearly the better team but funny things have happened in games between the Browns and ponies. The Horses beat the Browns 24-19 back in 2019, but this is a totally different Browns team, so one can expect a very different outcome. Finally, a re-match from last year’s 16-6 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders in an ugly weather game will come in Week Fifteen. This game almost cost the Browns a playoff spot as it kept the Raiders in the hunt towards the end of the season. Revenge is on the mind and I think the Browns pull this one out. The Browns’ overall record versus the AFC west is 36-71, but I believe that the win total will improve by at least three wins this season.
NFC North Games:
In Weeks Three and Four, the Browns welcome the Chicago Bears to the Dawg Pound and then are on the road to play the Minnesota Vikings. The Bears had a chance to win the division midway through last season but inconsistency killed them and they played better on the road than they did at home. As we all know, playing in the Dawg Pound is a different animal when it’s a packed house which could be the case when the season starts. The Vikings, on the other hand, were just plain bad. There was hardly any real offense to speak of and against this improved defense of the Browns expect defensive coordinator Joe Woods and defensive end Myles Garrett to have a field day killing Viking QB Kirk Cousins. Week Eleven will see the rivalry between the Browns and the Detroit kittens (Lions) in what used to be dubbed “The Great Lakes Bowl.” With Matthew Stafford gone, don’t expect the Lions to put up much of a fight. They may score, but it won’t be until garbage time. Finally, in Week Sixteen the Browns travel to famed Lambeau Field to play the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers may or may not be there by the time the season comes, so if he’s not, the Browns have a good chance of possibly sweeping the division. The Browns historically have a 25-51 record against the NFC North, but the way things have played out this potentially could be another sweep scenario.
Wild Card Games:
I called these three games the “wild card” games because these games could potentially decide the Browns’ fate in the playoffs. Week Two against Houston shouldn’t be a problem as the Browns squeaked out a bad weather game, 10-7, back in November of last season. This game is in early September, so expect the Browns to have a field day offensively and defensively and run the score up. Week Six has Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals coming to town. The red birds are a feisty team and finished 8-8 in the NFC West, which in most regards is the toughest division in the entire NFC. Don’t expect the Cardinals to just roll over and take a beating. This will be a tough game for the Browns, but they can win it if they stay focused. The week Ten match-up with the New England Bill Belichicks… excuse me, Patriots, is the most interesting because this is clearly not the same team from years past. No Tom Brady, No Julian Edleman and no real defense to speak of as they struggled to a third-place finish in the AFC East. Bill is still pissed at the Browns for the move in 95′ and every time he sees the Browns on the schedule he always has the Pats ready to play. This could go down to the wire.
Finally, we get to the good part. The good ol’ divisional games. I’m not even going to analyze this the same as the other paragraphs. This will be just plain ol’ honesty. As far as the Bengals go, yes, Joe Burrow will be back under center. Yes, they drafted weapons around him. The only downside to this is that the Bengals still don’t have an offensive line good enough or strong enough to stop this new front seven. If the Bengals aren’t careful Burrow may suffer more injuries in year two. I expect the Browns to continue their new dominance over the Bengals.
The Steelers will have Big Ben back as well as Ju-Ju and a plethora of offensive weapons. The question will be is it enough? The defense took a hit by losing some key players and the Browns did take two of three games including the last two. One of which was the opening round of the playoffs in which the Browns Blasted the Steelers at Heinz Field. If the Steelers aren’t careful they could get swept by the Browns and lose the division.
Finally, we get to Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens have been a thorn in the ass of the Browns and this year will be no different. The intangible is can Jackson stay healthy as he did take a beating last season. The Browns kept up with the Ravens when it came to off-season moves. That should make the Ravens very VERY nervous. Let’s not forget, had it not been for Jackson returning in the last min after taking a dookie, the Ravens don’t win that Monday night game in Cleveland.
FINAL PREDICTION: I expect the Browns to improve offensively and defensively on the field. The Browns averaged 39ppg to end the season, so don’t be surprised if that average jumps or stays the same this season.
FINAL RECORD: 12-5 Division Champs!